Lucky Bamboo Plant


Picture of lucky bamboo in bathroom

The Lucky bamboo is an easy to grow plant which can thrive in soil or water.

While the LB has the common name of bamboo it is not an actual bamboo plant species and belongs to the dracaena genus, although the stalks have a similar appearance.

Let's take a closer look at this plants description, how to grow and caring advice.

Facts

Origin: Africa.
Names: Lucky Bamboo (common). -- Dracaena Braunii, or Dracaena Sanderiana (botanical/scientific).
Max Growth (approx): Height 3ft.

Description

Plant in pot

The lucky bamboo grown in it's native country (West Africa) can grow up to 5ft tall (or much more), and as a house plant up to approximately 2 or 3 feet. There are various cultivars of this plant and some of the most interesting are the twisted stalk types which are trained by specialist growers.

The name lucky seems to have been given by the Chinese that practice feng shui and believe in this plant brings good fortune into a home or workplace.

Place in water or soil?: Dracaena braunii plants grow at their best in a pot with soil and live longer lives, however, many are grown in glass type vases which does give them a pretty cool minimalistic look. They are also grown in aquariums and sold in pet shops submersed in water or some shoots just above the water, but this is not the correct way of growing them and they can rot.

Flowering: In their natural tropical habitat grown outdoors the lucky bamboo will flower, but grown indoors they will not.

How it looks: Most of these are sold with about 3 stalks that look very similar to real bamboo plant's (although they're not bamboo) and grow light green shoots with slim and long arching leaves. You can also purchase the braided type that have numerous stems which seem to have become less expensive recently.

Easy to care for: Lucky bamboo is well known for being very easy to grow and maintain. When they're grown in water they can be left for a few weeks without having any health problems, although this water should really be replaced every 7 days. To grow and maintain a good healthy plant it is much better to grow them within a soil pot.

Giving The Lucky Bamboo Some Love And Care

Pruning cutters

Pruning: Trim back shoots one or two of inches from the stalk which will encourage the plant to grow into a nice bushy plant. If you have too many off shoots you can cut some back near to the stalk. Do not cut stalks.

  • Temperature: Warm room temperature's and above are advised 65°F (18°C) - 90°F (32°C). Avoid lower than 55°F/12°C in the winter.

  • Light: In it's natural habitat the lucky bamboo grows under the cover of shaded trees, so place your plant in a bright spot without direct sunlight which can burn the leaves that will mimic their natural living space.

  • Water: In a vase or water type pot change the water once every 7 days with distilled or bottled water. If your dracaena braunii is grown in soil (which is it's natural way of growing), water once the soil becomes slightly dry to the touch.

  • Soil: A well draining potting soil mix is advised.

  • Fertilizer: Feed with a diluted fertilizer about once a month in water or soil. If your plant sits within water then it will need just a drop added to the water.

  • spray bottle picture

    Misting: To improve humidity mist the leaves frequently.

  • Re-potting: Re-pot a plant living in soil when it becomes pot bound or every 2 years. If your plant sits in water with pebbles at the bottom for stability, re-pot to a bigger container once the previous one becomes too small and when the pebbles and container need cleaning. Cleaning the water container will prevent bacteria problems.

  • Air Humidity: Normal room humidity is fine.

  • Propagation: Choose and cut the biggest shoot (or shoots) available on a stalk and remove the lower leaves from the shoot. Cut the shoot about 1 cm – 2 cm away from the stalk. Sit your stem cutting in water for about 3 months until roots appear and then pot in soil.

Potential Problems

Yellow or brown leaf edges: The possible cause can be too much chemicals in the water (fluoride, chlorine or others) or direct sunlight. If the plant has had no direct sunlight then the problem has to be water chemical which should only require you to remove the old water and use distilled water.

Also make sure your not over feeding with fertilizer which can also turn leaves yellow. Browning of the leaves can also be caused by dry air which can be overcome with increasing the humidity.

Stalks becoming soft and/or yellow: The bottom of stalks can become soft and mushy or yellow for a variety of reasons, but it's often water related. The fact of the matter is this stalk is already dead or near death and will need to be separated from the other stalks and thrown away. Remove this stalk as soon a possible so it does not affect healthy stalks.

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